1 Year of Arbitrary Detention of Anwar Ibrahim

For Immediate Release
10 February 2016

1 Year of Arbitrary Detention of Anwar Ibrahim

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) condemns the continued detention of Anwar Ibrahim and call for his immediate and unconditional release.

The arrest and detention of Anwar Ibrahim have been condemned globally by all quarters for a myriad of reasons that threaten to undermine the legal institution and human rights in Malaysia. The Government of Malaysia cannot in good conscience remain apathetic and deny all responsibility for the arrest and detention of Anwar Ibrahim.

The manner in which state control media have publicized and spin the case against Anwar Ibrahim and the Judiciary’s decision to accept evidence that have been tempered with in manners non-compliant with recognized standard operating procedures have cast a shadow of doubt in the legitimacy of the case against Anwar Ibrahim and reaffirmed the sentiment that his case was politically motivated and that the whole prosecution and detention was designed to weaken the opposition coalition in Malaysia.

The conclusion drawn by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) in November 2015 in regards to the arrest and detention of Anwar Ibrahim clearly affirms this sentiment. Despite the conclusion by UNWGAD, the Government of Malaysia have wilfully chose to deny the findings and refused to take actions to address the injustice done against Anwar Ibrahim.

The callous manner in which the Government of Malaysia have responded to the finding by UNWGAD can only be interpreted as an act of denial and an effort to maintain the Government of Malaysia’s façade of compliance with international human rights norms and principles.

Once again, SUARAM reiterate its strongest condemnation for the arrest, prosecution and detention of Anwar Ibrahim and call for his immediate and unconditional release.

In solidarity,

Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director
SUARAM

Malaysia: Former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim must be freed

FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights

and its member organization for Malaysia

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

Joint press release

Malaysia: Former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim must be freed

Paris, Kuala Lumpur, 10 December 2015: Malaysian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and allow him to receive proper medical attention, FIDH and its member organization Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) said today on the 10-month anniversary of Anwar’s latest imprisonment. Anwar is currently incarcerated in Sungai Buloh prison, Selangor State.

“The ongoing detention of Anwar Ibrahim is the tip of the iceberg of the government’s ongoing crackdown against political opponents and critics. Anwar’s immediate and unconditional released would be a positive first step towards addressing the deteriorating human rights situation in Malaysia,” said FIDH President Karim Lahidji.

On 10 February 2015, the Federal Court in Putrajaya upheld the Court of Appeals’ conviction of Anwar on charges of sodomy (Article 377 of the Criminal Code) and sentenced him to five years in prison. Anwar’s Imprisonment was the result of a politically motivated prosecution that resulted in criminal proceedings that failed to meet international standards of fair trial. FIDH observed the Court of Appeals’ and Federal Court’s hearings of Anwar’s trial.

On 21 October 2015, in a decision on Malaysia issued at its 197th session, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) said it feared that Anwar’s conviction “may be based on considerations other than legal.”

In an opinion issued at its 73rd session on 1 September 2015, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) deemed Anwar’s detention arbitrary. The UNWGAD called for Anwar’s immediate release and for his political rights to be reinstated. In addition, the UNWGAD’s opinion considered that Anwar’s treatment during his detention “may have violated the prohibition of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment under Article 5 of the UDHR [Universal Declaration of Human Rights].”

The former opposition leader has faced difficulties receiving proper medical attention in Sungai Buloh prison. Anwar’s supervising doctor in the prison, appointed by the Ministry of Home Affairs, has repeatedly denied him access to recommended regular and intensive physiotherapy for a serious shoulder injury, which has worsened since his detention. The denial of adequate medical care runs counter to international norms. Article 22(2) of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners states that “sick prisoners who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals.”

Anwar also suffers from chronic arthritis, gastritis, irregular blood pressure, intestinal bleeding, and has a growth on his kidney. His prison doctor has denied him timely access to doctors of his choice and necessary medical testing.

Since early September, prison authorities have restricted Anwar’s access to his lawyers to one hour per week, despite the fact that he is involved in at least 16 ongoing court cases as plaintiff or defendant. This restriction is a breach of his fundamental rights guaranteed under Malaysian law and the Malaysian Constitution, and is against international standards. Principle 18 of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment states that an imprisoned person “shall be allowed adequate time” for consultation with his legal counsel.

In addition, the Ministry of Home Affairs has denied several foreign embassies and organizations prison visits to Anwar. On 5 November 2015, Malaysia’s Prison Affairs Division, under the Ministry of Home Affairs Ministry, rejected a request to visit Anwar made by FIDH three days earlier. No explanation was given for the denial of the visit.

“The persecution of Anwar Ibrahim did not end with his conviction ten months ago – it is continuing behind bars. It’s time for the authorities to immediately put an end all acts of harassment against him,” said SUARAM Executive Director Sevan Doraisamy.

FIDH and SUARAM demand Malaysian authorities guarantee Anwar his prisoner rights, including the rights to receive adequate medical care and access to a legal counsel, in accordance with relevant international standards.

Press contacts

FIDH: Mr. Andrea Giorgetta (English) – Tel: +66886117722 (Bangkok)

FIDH: Mr. Arthur Manet (French, English, Spanish) – Tel: +33672284294 (Paris)

SUARAM: Mr. Sevan Doraisamy – Tel: +60377843525

End All Political Prosecution and Persecution!

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) welcomes the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s stance on the detention of Anwar Ibrahim and fully supports the call for the Government of Malaysia to release Anwar Ibrahim and the reinstate all of his political rights that was denied following his conviction.

Arbitrary detention of any individual should not be the norm of any states and government irrespective of their political ideology and must not be the tool for government to suppress political dissidence. The idea where a person’s right to liberty and security of person can be compromised thus based on the whim of those in power is highly unconscionable and must be condemned and stopped whenever possible.

Recalling the politically motivated arrests and prosecution of Anwar Ibrahim, Khairuddin Abu Hassan, Mathias Chang and many more, SUARAM call for the Government of Malaysia to immediately release all political detainees and ensure that these cases would be the last in Malaysia. To achieve this, the Government of Malaysia MUST take sincere steps in repealing ALL laws that permits detention without trials and other repressive laws such as the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, the Sedition Act 1948 and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and ensure that all those that have been detained under the Special Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015, Prevention of Crime Act 1959 and Dangerous Drug (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 have a chance to stand trial in a court of law without further delay and detention.

On this note, SUARAM calls for the immediate release of all political detainees, including but not limited to Anwar Ibrahim and drop all politically motivated charges against politicians and human rights defender including but not limited to Sivarasa Rasiah, Zunar, Maria Chin, Azmi Sharom, Khalid Ismath, Eric Paulsen, Jannie Lasimbang, Adam Adli and Lena Hendry.

SUARAM also demand that the Government of Malaysia provide a fair and transparent trial for all those accused of a crime under the repressive laws mentioned above and take positive step in repealing these laws and replace them with laws that are in line with the democratic principles enshrined in Malaysia’s Federal Constitution.

Failure to do so would only condemn Malaysia as an authoritarian states in the eyes of our peers on the international stage and irreparably ruin our image as a democratic country.

In Solidarity
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director
SUARAM

Sodomy II: The Crumbling Credibility of the Malaysian Judiciary Reaffirmed!

Press Statement: 16 May 2011

Sodomy II: The Crumbling Credibility of the Malaysian Judiciary Reaffirmed!

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) is most concerned with the outcome of the Kuala Lumpur High Court this morning, where trial judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah, has found a prima facie case against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and has ordered him to enter his defence.

Anwar is charged with sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan at the Desa Damansara condominium on June 26, 2008. If found guilty under section 377B of the Penal Code, Anwar could face a jail term of not less than five years and a maximum of 20 years.

SUARAM has expressed concern during the trial with the apparent bias of the court proceedings; which was demonstrated time and again when Anwar’s defence team was denied access to medical reports and other documents, a defendant’s fundamental right to due process.

This led to the ridiculous scenario of doctors, who were being cross-examined by defence lawyers, but who were unable to refer to notes that they had made during the medical examination of Saiful Bukhari, since access to the notes would also have to be granted to the defence.

SUARAM also disagrees with the judge’s acceptance of the testimony of the three doctors; as it is clear that there are clear contradictions in their testimonies; to be the basis that there was indeed penetration, which requires the defence to call its case. But then again the trial judge himself had shown so much inconsistency by reversing his decision, from initially rejecting to accepting the DNA samples obtained from the lockup room where Anwar was detained.

In delivering his decision, the trial judge was reported to have commented on the credibility and truthfulness of the main witness in the case, Saiful Bukhari Azlan. SUARAM is concerned with the judge’s comments as he appears to have prejudged the case before the defence has presented its case. It is laughable that the trial judge would go out of his way to say that Saiful Bukhari was a “credible and truthful witness” when the said witness has given contradictory statements and was even romantically involved with one of the prosecutors in the case.

It is important to note that that the very basis of Anwar’s defence is that there is a political conspiracy to victimise him and as such, illogical and unlikely claims, loopholes in stories and inconsistencies in the testimonies cannot be disregarded and must be given due consideration. SUARAM feels that the judge, in establishing that there is prima facie, had not taken account of these factors.

This morning’s outcome has reconfirmed what SUARAM has repeatedly warned all along; that the courts have become mere puppets to the government of the day, succumbing to political pressures and making biased political decisions instead of legal decisions based on justice and fair play. The credibility of the Malaysian judiciary is further crumbling, as the ruling powers bend over backwards to hold on to their might and strengthen their grip on power.

Released by,

Hasbeemasputra Abu Bakar
Coordinator